Mobile Photography Hot Tips: How to Dump that DSLR for a Smartphone Camera?

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Smartphones. They are everywhere. And you can even shoot pictures for microstock agencies right from your mobile! The phenomenal technology that goes into smartphones has made it the go to device for all your pictures moments.

However, for DSLR and DCC camera users, the transition might be a little more disturbing to adapt to as the smartphone camera operates more like a neutered digital compact camera. Many have even heard of the virtues of Smarphone photography that mirrors the capability and even exceeds traditional compact cameras with the use of an app. Here are some tips to transition smoothly from DSLR to Smartphone shooting.

Why no buttons for manual controls?

Android smartphones actually do have manual controls but it comes via a mobile app, you can do this via a playstore app but don’t expect it to be at the same level as a DCC or DSLR. You might be able to choose a variable shutter speed for those action shots with it but much of what it does is still very hardware dependent. For example, shooting at the highest or lowest shutter speed depends on your smartphone camera’s capability. Some devices offer only 1/15 sec of exposure while others can do 1 second. It’s not perfect for low light but tell me, how often do you even shoot in low light unless you were born a vampire and love hanging out only at night?

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Next beef is….few, if any would be insane enough to shoot fast action sports with a mobile device but for slower exposures, it should be possible, except that the sensor can’t possibly hold up to that found on a DSLR. But in daylight, who gives a damn? Even in some low light situations, the HDR+ mode on some smarpthones such as the Nexus 6 uses computational algorithms to get better exposure so turning to manual controls is starting to sound pretty dated.

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Selfie Sticks can be used with Camera Remote

10341774-1Every wondered what to do with your Android Watch…besides telling time? Well you can use that with your Selfie sticked Android device for a better view. Yes, there is an App for Android wear that lets you pair your Android watch to your Andriod Smartphone for use on a selfie stick. Now, we all know that selfie sticks are made for selfies but do you know that you can also use it to aim from a higher angle? Trying doing that with you DSLR!

For this trick, you need to have Android wear paired as a controller and display screen for your mobile device. Once you get the angle you want which you can view on your watch, just hit the shutter button on your Android Watch app and you have your picture.

DNG files from your Android

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DNG support is available for devices running Android Lollipop however to use it, you need to have an app. One of the problems is that DNG support was included in an API which was not widely used by device manufacturers for fear that it would stuff up your SD card or internal storage for photos. Think about it. If you have a 16 megapixel camera, a DNG file could be as much as 16MB…so unless you want it, you have to get an app for it.

DNG is far more versatile for now. Google Photos allows you to upload directly to the Cloud as long as it is below 16MB in file size…for free.

No Aperture settings so there is No Bokeh?

This is true. The majority of smartphones do not have aperture controls. So if you suddenly went manual, to obtain Bokeh blurs, you’d be disappointed. But that’s not to say it is impossible. Devices running Android Lollipop 5.0 have access to Google’s Camera App that gives you Bokeh effects.

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Bokeh as rendered on Google Camera App

GPS lets you record metadata into Photos

Mid to high end DSLRs from Nikon, Sony and Canon have built in GPS capability for location tracking but for smartphones, this comes ready built and available with a flick of a switch. For Android devices, you only need to switch this on in your settings menu for GPS to track and embed the location meta data for all your images.

367659129_3e288b81f2There is no need to buy a third party device like the Sony thingy you see here. Geo location can also be enabled with the help of an app on your smartphone should you happen to use a dated DSLR—GPS metadata has to be paired with a desktop app to sync the data. Yes, there is an app for that but these days, why bother when you can shoot directly from your smart mobile device?

Digital Zooming =  Cropping your Photo

These days, who needs a bigger optical zoom when you have the ability to crop an image for composition sake? Imagine this for a moment. The new Galaxy Note 5 has a 16 megapixel sensor, which gives you TWICE the image of that from an iPhone 6 which has 8 megapixels, so even if you crop your Galaxy Note 5 image in half, you still have a 8 megapixel picture! Cropping your photo is like telephoto zooming except that the more you zoom in, the resulting image would be smaller.

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So if you have a Sony Xperia or Panasonic CM1 with a 20 megapixel sensor as your picture canvas, why bother with a telephoto lens? This image capture logic was put to good use with Nokia’s 1020 and 808 smartphones which has 40 megapixel cameras.

Sell what you Shoot instantly!

Say you have a great picture moment and what to sell it online as oppose to attracting Facebook envy when you put it up for all to see, well you can do it directly with apps such as EyeEm, 500ppx, Clashshot, etc, etc. Your device could earn you decent beer money if you are up and about as the Microstock business has all but decimated the stock image library business.

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People want to buy cheap photos, and not pay royalties and where possible, thereby putting professional photographers out of business. There is no business like the stock image business if you want to tip your toes into these waters so why keep those great photo moments when you can sell them with an app.

Postproduction work can be done on your Smartphone

With a DSLR, you have to lug around a computer to do any serious post production enhancements or for that matter, use a tablet computer. But all this don’t make cents when you are not shooting for money. Those casual photos can be easily edited on the fly with a free app like Snapseed on iOS or Android and posted online. When you travel, the extra space you save in baggage handling would be a God send without that Notebook computer!

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Original JPG image from compact digital camera

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Captured on a Digital camera and later edited on AfterFocus Pro and Snapseed.

Why Casual Shooters are Dumping their DSLRs

Casual shooters, you belong to a different class of picture creators. You don’t shoot professionally as quitting your day job just to become a photographer is like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. So why not shoot on the side and sell what you have when there is a market for it? It’s like being a home gardener, when you have more than you need, why not sell those to earn some extra cash?

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First, thinking that you can earn a decent income just by doing what you enjoy doing is a dangerous sport. Those who do are the handful who have built a pool of savings to do what they please in the world so going out to just shoot beautiful pictures is more of a hobby.

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Captured and edited entirely on Android Smartphone

People like Tom Anderson formerly of Myspace and Trey Ratcliff of stuckincustoms.com are exceptions rather than the rule. To make money from photography, you’d need to built up your own fan base and in the process go on lectures and speaking engagements. Selling prints and licensing isn’t a big deal if your name isn’t out there for the world to notice. There rest of the professionals you see in this world who call themselves photographers are an old breed of craftsmen, they make or stage photos for commercial benefit.

Mobile photography frees ourselves from the traditional constraints of photography while allowing ourselves to indulge in our past time whenever and wherever we want.

However there is no curing the gear envy that people have from holding a large camera. If you want to shoot pictures with a hefty DSLR, it better be for professional reasons. Casual shooters who have far less demand on digital imaging would do no wrong to dump that DSLR in this day and age because carrying one can be a real bitch.

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Mobile Apps that help you make Money

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So you got yourself a rather expensive mobile toy and besides Facebook, you really are just wasting time on it playing games and taking photos. But do you know that you can make some beer money for yourself while at it? The technology is here and it’s up to you to get the ball rolling.

Here are some of the possibilities listed below.

Broadcast your gameplay on Twitch and YouTube

These are just two of the most popular channels to make money that has taken the world by storm. Gaming is a big market and there are so called pro gamers who spend all their time making videos online for their gameplay as a guide for newbies on YouTube. Think of PewDiePie, who started recording his gameplay and posting it to YouTube, he’s now elevated himself to the status of Internet Celebrity with his whimsical channel on cold hard Swedish humor. How could a country that gave us Abba in the 70s produce such talent is beyond me. maybe it has to do with their fermented herring, Surstromming? Which enjoys the status of being the most horrible tasting food next to Icelandic fermented shark meat. PewDiePie makes an average of US$4 million a year from this alone!

Twitch is a gaming only site where you can post your gameplay and commentary. It is the biggest ass kicker for online game voyeurism but the Twitch App for mobile does not allow you to stream your gameplay to the channel for this you need to get a little smarter by recording your gameplay and streaming it later on a PC.

samsunggamerplusSamsung’s GameRecorder+ is the only one that works best for game recording and unfortunately available only on their Galaxy App store. For iOS, you need to find a screen recorder….and there isn’t any. Apple thinks its wrong to let an app record what you are doing onscreen. Go figure. The only way to do a recording of your gameplay is to broadcast it via a third party hardware accessory needed for video output. Need I say more?

For Android, many of the available apps for screen recording require your device be jailbroken, but those running Lollipop will be spared this messy step. Samsung’s Galaxy GameRecorder+ is the only one that allows you to record this seamlessly while also recording your narrative live from the front facing camera. Neat!

Get Famous on YouNow

Not recommended for introverts, ISIL guerrilla recruiters or Dems and GOP candidates, YouNow is an entertainment channel that rivals that of Periscope and Meerkat on Twitter. It regularly pulls in US$1 million in revenue every month with top YouNow celebs earning US$10,000 a month.

YouNowThe YouNow mobile app allows  you to broadcast live from your mobile device so the only thing you need to fret about is the mobile data bandwidth. The mobile app is a self contained broadcast channel so you can’t include pre-recorded streams.

Aside from this one restriction, everything is live. Yep. Talk, play, do that juggling act or say stupid jokes. If an Arab working in a convenience store can be an online celebrity on YouNow, why can’t you?

Make that Photo Pay for itself

So you like photography? Great. Where do you start to make some beer money from what you do? The iPhone camera is great while the Galaxy S6 is even better. Pictures you take can be enhanced anyway you like and once you have a great photo, why not see if you can sell it or enter it in a photo challenge?

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Scoopshot is one that you can make some money out of your mobile photography pictures. Just submit a photo to their task challenges and get paid between US$10 to US$50 per photo.

How it works is simple. Photo Buyers with a budget will send out regional or global photo challenges with the winners getting their photos bought for the stated reward. Each is different and you can enter as many as you like as long as the photo is captured according to the buyer’s brief…that’s on how it should taken, and if faces of models can be seen or not seen.

FOAP is for selling Brand related Photos

Available for both iOS and Android, FOAP operates in a similar manner to Scoopshot but the key difference is that its photo contest challenges are sponsored by brands. They pay more too of course and FOAP has been winning hearts of those who love to drink. There are tonnes of food and lifestyle contest that must feature the brand owners products in your photo shots and many of them involving having fun or just foodie with drinks shots. Rewards vary, some offering as little as US$100 or up to thousands if a car brand is involved.

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Snapwire is for anyone looking for crowd sourced Images

Snapwire is an app designed for just about anyone who is on the look out for unique photos to buy. These days, buying a royalty image can be a real pain as you have to spend countless hours doing it. So why not get someone to shoot it for you instead?

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Rewards vary but it can range from anything from US$50 to US$800. So if the US dollar is king in your country, you may find it very worthwhile to shoot images for these request. Some request are pretty mundane others are plain simple. The challenge is to submit an image that will sell.

There are clear guidelines on what is needed in the brief and you are also told if a model release is required. More often than not, these request are far less sticky compared to submitting to microstock image agencies so even if you are just practicing your photography with an iPhone, you can still submit your worst shots and see how that fares.

Are there any other Ways of Making Money with your Mobile?

It depends on you really because if you don’t mind mining for Bitcoin, there is an app for that too. But let’s be clear, Bitcoin mining isn’t made for mobile. It is getting harder and harder to keep the blockchain going and for your efforts, you are only earning a handful of bit cents. That to me makes no sense to me.

Other methods are all indirect, and doesn’t give you an end result. There are no mobile video only microstock agency as yet making them on a mobile app is still a long way off. Video editing tools are relatively hum drum on mobile devices and unless you get a hardware bump upwards, shooting them and editing them to acceptable quality on mobile is way off.

If you cite apps like Uber, HomeAway, Flipkey and Airbnb, those require you to have a home or a car and unless you have that, you can’t partake in the business.

Vayable is an app for Tourist guide wannabes. Available only on iOS, it looks for guides in cities or places which you have insider knowledge over. If you qualify as one, you may just get hired for the day. The problem with this sort of services is that you need to verify yourself as a local guide with video post and presentations using a desktop computer. The mobile app, like Airbnb, is only used to market your services.

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Demotix is a news portal that shouts out loud on citizen journalism but having your news featured and bought is a tough call for one simple reason, you have to capture pictures on your phone camera and file the whole story with it. Both iOS and Android apps are supported. Unless you live in a place that is far from traditional news centers, your chances of being featured will be better. Most of the news happening now is already being captured by paid journalist and unless it is in a war zone, where news agencies are loath to send their own paid interns, then you might have a shot at getting your news sold.

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Crowd sourcing is a big part of this equation these days. To be part of a Lyft or Airbnb experience, you need to have something to offer. So do your homework before you sign up.